IPL 2020: Why MS Dhoni needs to bat higher up the order in subsequent CSK matches?
Dhoni’s role with the bat is pivotal if CSK harbour ambitions of lifting their fourth IPL title. There is no doubt that he still ‘has it’ in him.
Updated - Sep 23, 2020 6:07 pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to remain a mystery beyond comprehension. Even after his retirement, the great man has his own inimitable ways of surprising the cricketing world. No one can prognosticate his next move, and Dhoni’s enigma continues to amaze us even today.
If you had seen Dhoni play his first twelve balls against Rajasthan on 23rd September 2020, you would have probably convinced yourself that he has not ‘got it’ in him. His first 12 balls yielded just nine runs, and it apparently seemed as if he was unable to endure the pace.
But then, just when we thought that the big hits might prove to be elusive for him, Dhoni clobbered Tom Curran for three consecutive sixes, with one of them even sailing out of the ground. It was his way of telling the world that he still possesses the ability to strike the big ones that made him such a potent weapon for whichever side he plays for.
But then, in spite of the Dhoni assault, the target proved to be beyond the reach of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), as they went down to the Rajasthan Royals by 16 runs in a high-scoring encounter.
Now, the question that arises is, did Dhoni hold himself back too much? Did he leave it too late that even he could not influence the result as the target was pretty much out of CSK’s reach by the time he walked in to bat?
MS Dhoni probably came in too late against Royals
When Dhoni arrived at the crease, the equation for the Chennai Super Kings was 103 needed off 38 deliveries. That meant that Dhoni could not even get ‘breathing space’ to get his eye in. It required CSK to go at a rate of 16.61 runs per over, and that pretty much meant that he had to go hammer and tongs from ball one.
Now, Dhoni is 39 and in the last leg of his professional career. He needs time to get his eye in, and needs to spend more time in the middle. But then, once he passes that initial phase, Dhoni can be ruthless even today. And, if his towering sixes in the game against Rajasthan are any proof, Dhoni will still continue to give nightmares for the opposition in this IPL.
Why Dhoni needs to bat higher up?
But then, if that has to happen on a consistent basis for Chennai this year, one thing needs to happen for sure. Dhoni definitely needs to bat higher up the order. In the game against Mumbai, Dhoni sent in Sam Curran ahead of him which was understandable. Curran is a pinch hitter, and with CSK needing 29 runs off the last 17 deliveries, the move worked. Curran smashed a whirlwind 6 ball 18, and the match was in the bag for CSK.
But then, in the game against Rajasthan, sending Curran in at No.4 failed. While Curran dazzled briefly, he perished for a 6 ball 17. Curran is not someone who is suited on a ‘long time basis’ for batting at No.4 or No.5. And that is where the experience of Dhoni in steering the side would come handy.
Dhoni is the man who has steered his side through several precarious situations through the course of his unparalleled career and a man who has pulled off miraculous heists with the willow. But then, for him to make his impact felt, he has to come up the order. If he comes in at No.4 or No.5, Dhoni can afford to get his eye in and set himself up for the assault.
Also, 3310 of his 4461 runs in the IPL have come batting at No.4 or No.5, and 16 out of his 23 IPL fifties have also come when he has batted at either No.4 or No.5. And, the numbers definitely don’t lie here.
Dhoni’s role with the bat extremely crucial for CSK
Dhoni’s role with the bat is pivotal if CSK harbour ambitions of lifting their fourth IPL title. There is no doubt that he still ‘has it’ in him to tear apart bowling attacks and hit those humungous sixes. But then, the iconic cricketer definitely needs to bat higher up the order to have a meaningful impact for the yellow brigade this season.